While evangelist Billy Graham was preaching the Gospel, there was another man doing God’s work just as faithfully.
He traveled all over America too, holding conferences and speaking.
His ministry impacted generations and continues to grow today.
He wrote many books and a commentary to the Bible.
Many people don’t know his name, but he started a movement. He was the Father of Modern Creationism: Dr. Henry M. Morris. He preached the truth of Creation from Genesis while many pastors were compromising with evolutionary ideas.
Dr. Morris was an accomplished scientist and engineer, but he was also a godly man of integrity- fully loyal to God’s Word from beginning to end. A Daniel of his time in the academic world.
Today you get a sneak peek behind the scenes! Learn about his life and family as we interview his daughter, Rebecca Morris Barber. She recently released a new biography Henry M. Morris: Father of Modern Creationism
Hello Mrs. Rebecca Morris Barber! Welcome to Apologetics Girl and thank you for your time to participate in this interview! Please tell us briefly how did the idea for the book Henry M. Morris: Father of Modern Creationism first appear, and how long did it take you to research family history and put the book together?
“Hello, and thanks for the privilege of sharing with your friends. I have always been intrigued with history and have spent years collecting family photographs, stories, scrapbooks and things. It’s interesting to try and imagine what my ancestors experienced.
Ever since my father went to be with the Lord in 2006, our family knew that we needed to put his story down in print. My brothers, Henry and John Morris are both qualified authors, but both were so busy speaking and writing for the Institute for Creation Research that the work of researching a biography seemed like too much. Henry knew of my interest in history and asked me to get the work started by writing the early history. He and John then planned to finish it with Dad’s career in apologetics and the beginnings of ICR. Well, by the time I finished his early life and professional education, it just made sense to keep going.
Because I had already gathered a lot of info, it only took about eight months to write the book. Dad had taken the time to write an autobiography in the ‘80’s, and he had filed much of his correspondence with friends and family, so I had a lot of information. By organizing it chronologically, I had so many day-to-day details, that I felt like I re-lived his entire life. What a blessing that was! It seemed that every day tears would flow as I experienced his hardships, blessings, and spiritual discoveries that were revealed in his personal letters.”
By God’s Grace, your father Dr. Henry M. Morris was an impressive scientist and Christian with many accomplishments both in science and ministry. He created a hydraulics textbook for engineering, received academic honors, served as head of the engineering department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and held prominent positions in national engineering and scientific societies, in addition to his involvement in ministry, writing over 60 books and a Study Bible, culminating with the founding of Institute for Creation Research. As his daughter, what is a favorite memory you have of your father?
“As the youngest of six siblings, I was just starting to “think” as he was entering the era of endless travels and speaking engagements that were the result of the publication of his book The Genesis Flood. That was the book that catalyzed the modern creation movement. Consequently, my interaction with him was limited. When he was at home, he was usually tick-ticking away on his manual typewriter, and although I was allowed to play in his study, the orders were “play quietly, Daddy’s working.”
One special memory I have tucked away is the day we had a church picnic and Dad let me “run the bases” for him during the softball game. I did not know then that he had been a fast-pitch softball pitcher way back in the ‘40’s and I had no idea that he could hit a ball that far.”
Would Dr. H.M. Morris share his discoveries in relation to Creation and Genesis with the family often? Was it a regular topic in family discussions?
“Our family discussions were always around the dinner table. Our parents made sure we had our meals together every day, and that always included prayer and the reading of a chapter of the Bible. We grew up with a reverence for the Word, and I can still hear Dad’s voice as he read with such precision. I know now that it was his knowledge and intimacy with those words that enabled him to read without every faltering over phrasing or enunciation. Our family devotions always included a time for questions or explanations, and as we matured, so did the topics. Creation was accepted simply as a fact.”
In the book you mentioned Dr. H.M. Morris traveled extensively to speak to churches and gatherings on the topic of Creation, and he often took his family along. What was one of your favorite places that you visited during that time and why?
“Dad was invited to attend an educational conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico when I was about 10. The “wide open spaces” of the West were quite an adventure to a child raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We spent several weeks in New Mexico where we went hiking in the desert, I saw my first tumbleweed, and went to a rodeo. The road trips between speaking engagements were some of my best memories. We had lots of time to sing and play games. Dad was a cowboy at heart, having lived in El Paso as a child, so he was required to sing “Tumbling Tumble Weeds” over and over to his annoying children.”
When did you come to know Christ; was it as a child or an adult?
“I can’t remember a time when I did not believe in Jesus, but I was eight when I was confronted by my sin of stealing a candy bar. I remember feeling guilty and my mother explaining my need for a Savior. Yet, it wasn’t until my ninth-grade year that I realized that my faith needed to be personal, and not merely the faith of my father. I became aware then that I had been living a “Christian” life to please my father, whom I desperately wanted to impress. God gently taught me that I must choose to follow Him personally.”
At school did you ever question professors on evolution? Was evolution promoted as much in grade school and high school during that time as it is now?
“I don’t think it was as “in your face” then. Yet, the seeds of evolutionary thought can be planted in very subtle ways. I remember being asked by my sixth-grade teacher to write an essay on cave men. I wrote a story of how cave men might have “discovered” fire. I included the typical theme of slow-witted knuckle-draggers finding warmth after a lightning storm. When I presented the paper to Dad to correct as he always did, he quietly asked, “Do you suppose that God may have given Adam the knowledge of fire?” He did not chide me for thinking that way or lecture me on my world view, but said just enough to cause me to come to a logical conclusion on my own. I believe that moment was the first time I realized that not everyone knew the truth about creation.”
Having been raised in a godly household that expounded on the truths of Creation, did you find it difficult to accept the Biblical truth of Creation and life origins, or did it come more naturally to understand?
“The example of godly parents made it easy to believe. The logical evidences and firm convictions of the scholarly researchers who frequented our home confirmed that faith.”
God has granted you the grace to homeschool and teach your children (now adults) a Biblical worldview. What is your advice to young people who struggle with accepting Creation vs. evolution?
“Of course, their personal relationship with the Lord is paramount, but I believe we also should encourage young people to research. Most young people are open to considering logical evidence for the existence of God. If they are willing to admit that God exists, and approach scientific data from that viewpoint, they can see for themselves that evolution is false. ICR’s website, ICR.org, is a good place to start to read and research from a biblical viewpoint.”
You mentioned in the book that your mother (Mrs. Mary Louise Morris) enjoyed creating artwork. What was her favorite object/piece to paint?
“With six children, she didn’t have a lot of extra time when I was growing up. In those days, no one encouraged young mothers to “take time for yourself.” After we all left, she finally was able to pursue her personal art interest and took some adult classes. She loved the color pink, and flowers were a particular favorite. I have a lovely painting in my house of a vase of pink roses.”
Did Dr. H.M. Morris have a favorite song or hymn? If so, do you remember which and would you be willing to share?
“He loved many hymns and told me that he wished we would sing all the verses every time we sang hymns. There is so much we can learn from good hymns and it is much easier to remember the phrases because of the music. I believe one of his favorites was “I Know Whom I Have Believed.”
In brief, how did you meet your husband? And over the years you have both been serving as Bible Camp leaders and afterward became involved in ICR ministry. Did you have a desire to be in ministry from the beginning, or did that come along as God opened doors for you?
“When Don and I met and became engaged, we were enrolled at Christian Heritage College. He was in the Missionary Aviation program and we intended to go to the mission field. But God had other plans for us, and after we were married, he took on the position of Camp Director at Indian Hills Camp near San Diego. We stayed there for 11 years, he as director, and I as song leader and riding instructor. In 1990, he was asked to design and build a creation museum for ICR. Today, he is the operations director at ICR and is once again, helping with the development of a new museum. I too have been blessed by working with SOBA (School of Biblical Apologetics) here at ICR as an editor.”
Finally, what do you hope readers take from this book?
“As I researched Dad’s life, I was overwhelmed by the evidence of the hand of God working through some amazing circumstances. The twists and turns along the way revealed how God had orchestrated the details to turn a poor child from a broken home into a man of God who truly changed the world. How often have we seen a similar child and said in our hearts, “He’ll never amount to much.”? Well, Henry Morris should have never amounted to much, but God plucked a willing heart and keen mind from difficult circumstances, and made “a new creature in Christ.”
Once he committed his life to Christ, it was the sharp two-edged sword of the Word of God that produced a champion of Christian apologetics. Even in his 20’s, he spent hours every day studying the Scriptures, and kept it up his entire life. He memorized hundreds of verses and charted and categorized many subjects from the Bible. When the opportunities came to teach, he made the leap, overcoming his introverted nature by trusting the Lord.
If there is anything I want people to realize through Dad’s life, it is that God can take a “nothing” and make a “something.” All of us can experience God’s saving grace, but spiritual maturity must come from the Word of God. It is not enough to just read a devotional every day, we need to take the time to really study and meditate. The wisdom and discernment that comes from an in-depth knowledge of the very words of God can take a “ho-hum” Christian and turn them into a dynamic ambassador of the Creator of the Universe.
Thanks, Rebekah, for letting me share. I hope this has been a blessing for your readers.”
- Buy the book Henry M. Morris: Father of Modern Creationism and other amazing creation books for adults and kids alike at ICR bookstore.
- Subscribe to the FREE Acts & Facts scientific magazine to receive it in your mailbox every month!
- Also, the Institute for Creation Research is building a Creation Museum in Dallas Texas, planned to open early 2019!
- Watch this short flick highlighting the message of Dr. Henry Morris
Disclaimer: I was not paid nor received any compensation to do this interview or promote the ministry of ICR. I have just been tremendously blessed by their work and I want others to benefit also, and to spread awareness about the necessity of a solid foundation on Genesis and a literal six-day creation.